The Calgary Flames’ roster has been in a state of injury-based flux since before the season began.
They’ve never had all players available to them healthy at the same time. Just when it seems as though they’re finally going to have to make a decision so as to avoid going over the roster limit, someone else gets hurt.
That someone might be Micheal Ferland this time, as he was not a part of the Flames’ practice today – and Lance Bouma, on the injured reserve, was.
Where we last left off
Michael Frolik was on the verge of returning from a shoulder injury. Out since Dec. 15, he has been sitting on the injured reserve, allowing the Flames to keep another player – be it the waiver-exempt Markus Granlund, or any of their frequent healthy scratches – up on the main roster.
With his return imminent, a player would have to be sent down. Or at least, that was the case until Bouma was injured and back on the injured reserve just two games before Frolik came back.
Thus, the only roster move the Flames had to make was to swap Frolik for Bouma, and everything else remained a constant.
— Kristen Odland (@KristenOdlandCH) January 23, 2016
If these hold true, then there are a few takeaways from this particular group:
- Mason Raymond and Josh Jooris are scratches.
- David Jones, who saw top line duty over Jiri Hudler earlier in the season, is back up there.
- Bob Hartley at least knows not to mess with that second line, which has been on fire.
- Lance Bouma will be back.
The Flames’ next game is tomorrow, so if Bouma is taking regular line rushes at practice, it seems a good indication he’ll be doing just that in games, too.
(Scratching Jooris remains inexplicable, but I digress.)
Activating Bouma from the injured reserve would put the Flames at 24 guys, so something’s going to change roster-wise.
Always 24 guys around
As detailed above: pretty much somebody is always injured, and so, throughout the season, the Flames have consistently had more than 23 players around, albeit the extras are on the injured reserve.
Here’s the thing: no Flames were waived today. If Bouma is back, he has to be activated tomorrow at the latest. This essentially leaves us with two possibilities:
- Granlund, who does not need to clear waivers, is going back to Stockton.
- Ferland is going on the injured reserve.
I would bet the answer is the second one. Granlund, for all his up-and-down play one could expect of any kid, is beloved in this lineup. He remains at centre, even though there’s almost certainly a better option in Sam Bennett. He continues to get consistent minutes, averaging 13:09 a game this season. And he’s never healthy scratched – certainly not to the extent Bollig, Jooris, or Raymond have been throughout the season.
Of course, there is the possibility that despite the Flames’ love for Granlund, he’ll be going down anyway as a matter of it being the easiest solution. Three forwards have been frequent healthy scratches, but maybe they don’t want to see any sent down: possibly not Bollig for his grit and probable value in the room, Jooris for his potential and the risk of getting Paul Byron’d again, and Raymond for signalling the death knell on such an expensive contract.
But Ferland only played 6:47 against the Columbus Blue Jackets before he left early in the second period, and it didn’t look good.
If the Flames do place Ferland on the injured reserve, it can be retroactive to his injury, and the absolute earliest he would be able to return to game action would be on Feb. 3: the Flames’ first game after the All-Star Break.
There’s no telling how long Ferland could be out for, but the timing of the All-Star Weekend could give him extra recovery time if need be, as that’s almost two weeks following his injury – if that’s what ends up happening, of course.
Or he could be out longer. Or not at all. This is total speculation at this point.
But it does look like another injury has saved the Flames from having to make another roster decision, yet again.